These past two weeks have been the “Weeks of Teaching.” I’m teaching Joe, my lovely Luddite boyfriend, how to use the computer. You may have heard the unemployment rate in Michigan just dropped to 14.6%. Joe has been working-it on Indeed. Keep your fingers crossed, carpenters are having a difficult time finding work (along with everyone else).My dad, Fritz, is retired and likes to keep busy. I’m also teaching him how to shoot digital photos, edit them, and post them to Etsy. He loves it! My dad actually told me he was having fun! I’m glad, because it frees up a lot of time to make more pots. Fritz’s other new job is shipping and packing. My dad is such a fast learner and is so precise I don’t have to worry about the quality of his work at all. Here is one of his latest images.My dad’s skills have greatly improved; here is another example of his craftsmanship from my college graduation. No, I’m not that man. I’m that girl in the far-off left corner. There are several pictures similar to this and feel like my dad was playing Where’s Waldo?In addition to my extra-curricular teaching, I teach part-time at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. In my Tuesday afternoon class, Surface Possibilities, we are focusing on scraffito, mishima, wax resist designs, crackle glazes, and laser decals. Last week we started making test tiles for scraffito and this week we were finishing scraffito and starting mishima. I don’t know exactly when the shit hit the fan, but things went downhill fast! I made my students a chart, to chart out the different techniques and how we were going to use them on our test tiles, but it seemed to confuse them even more. I stayed an extra half an hour to help them. I kept telling them (to their dismay) that it would all make sense eventually and it was just confusing because it was new to them. Hopefully, next week things will be clearer.
The following evening I taught my low-fire advanced class and everything went well. I only have 8 students and they rarely all show up, so I demoed how to spray underglaze with Amaco Velvet Underglazes. If you’ve never used underglazes they are fun to mess around with. I really enjoy making monoprints with them and will be demoing that later in the semester. The rest of the evening I walked around answering questions and chatting.
I enjoy teaching because gets me out of the studio, sometimes I don’t think I would leave if I didn’t have too! It also makes me a better artist. I have to demonstrate techniques and there is nothing like pressure from observation to keep you on top of your game. It also requires excellent communication skills. I’m always explaining ideas and then asking students if what I said makes sense. And of course, the best part is spreading my love of ceramics.